Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lee Vance

Lee Vance is a graduate of Harvard Business School and a retired general partner of Goldman Sachs Group. His new novel is The Garden of Betrayal.

From a Q & A at his publisher's website:

Q: In THE GARDEN OF BETRAYAL, protagonist Mark Wallace works for a hedge fund, advising a select group of investors on global energy pricing. At one point, he is given data on Saudi oil production. Why would this be valuable information for someone in Mark’s field?

A: No one knows how much oil there is in the world, or what percentage of that oil is recoverable. The only certainties are that the amount is finite, and that we’ll recover less than all of it. Hence long term – in twenty years, or fifty years, or a hundred years – we’re going to run out. The key questions are whether we’ll have time to make a smooth transition to an alternative source of energy, and what that source will be.

The Saudis are particularly important at this moment in history because they’re the one major oil producer thought to have proven, developed, excess capacity i.e. established wells that they aren’t currently pumping. But no one outside the Kingdom knows what that excess capacity is, nor do we know much about the rate at which their active fields are running down. There’s a school of thought that holds that the Saudis don’t actually have any excess capacity, and that their production is set to plunge in the near future. If so, the unexpected shortages would wreak massive global economic damage, spark famine, and almost certainly lead to further military conflict in the Middle East. Hence any information about Saudi capacity would be enormously valuable to a wide variety of business, political, and social institutions.

Q: What sort of research did you do into energy markets?

A: I co-managed Energy Trading at Goldman Sachs for a number of years, so...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue